#33 An unusual proposition
I’m just about to walk into the kitchen of Giovanni’s to give Kieran and Hollister the orders of our customers when I hear Joshua’s voice behind me. I’ve actually been wondering how he has been doing, so I spin around with a smile on my face, but that smile quickly fades when I see who is standing right next to him.
“Nice to see you, Joshua,” I say politely. “You too, Jasmine. Go ahead and pick a booth. I’ll be right with you.”
Joshua grin widely and his fiery girlfriend takes me in from head to toe with a very weird look in her eyes. Almost… hungry? Well, I mean, this is a restaurant after all, but I’m not on the menu. Weird.
I make my way into the kitchen and I hand the tickets over to Kieran, who looks at me strangely. I lean against the counter for a moment, not wanting to go back in there even though I know it’s my job.
“Shaughna?” Kieran asks, putting a hand on my arm. “Are you okay?”
“What?” I blink a few times and sigh. “Sorry. Yeah, just tired form working at Animals yesterday.”
“You’re never too tired to yell at us,” Hollister chimes in, his blue eyes moving over me. “You’ve never handed us a ticket without screaming the orders in our faces. Ever.”
“Well, I would love to yell at you,” I tell him, rolling my eyes. “And we both know I have every reason to do so, but excuse me for wanting to save my voice.”
Kieran and Hollister exchange a weird look, and I just know they’re going to keep pestering me, so I clear my throat and yell at the top of my lungs: “Two meatball subs, three tomato soups and two daily specials!” They both chuckle, and I join in after a moment, laughing as well. I head back to the front of the restaurant, feeling a little better.
Joshua and Jasmine just sat down in my section, so I head over with a professional smile on my face. “Hello, I’m obviously Shaughna and I’ll be your waitress today. Have you already decided or do you need another moment?”
Joshua grins. “So professional. We were hoping you could come and sit with us for a moment, actually. We have a proposition for you.”
Oh bloody hell, what is this about? Jasmine is still looking at me with those intense green eyes, flicking her red hair over her shoulder while licking her lips. If I didn’t know any better, I’d say she’s checking me out and liking what she sees. That is beyond weird.
“My break is not for another hour,” I inform them. “I can give you five minutes then.”
Joshua nods. “Great. We’ll take two cokes, a bowl of meatballs and an extra large order of fries. Ever since I told Jasmine about eating fries with tomato sauce, she’s been excited to try them. Right, honey?”
Jasmine smiles at me. “Yes, I’m very excited to try something new.”
Why does she look at me like I’m a snack when she says that? I just nod and take off to take some more orders, get their cokes and hand the tickets to Kieran. I have a weird feeling about this.
The next hour is very uncomfortable for me, since Joshua and Jasmine are talking to each other in hushed tones the entire time, smiling secretively and sneaking glances at me. A fellow waitress even comes over to me to ask me who the two weirdos in the corner are.
Finally, my break arrives and I promise myself to only sit with them for five minutes before heading out for a walk around the neighborhood. I’m not going to spend those precious twenty minutes talking to my ex-fuckbuddy and his girlfriend. I like Joshua, I always will, but he’s making things weird for me and I don’t appreciate that.
“Thanks for meeting us,” Joshua says when I slide into the seat across from them. “Like I said… we have a proposition for you.”
“Okay…” I say carefully. “What?”
“As you know, Jasmine and I have been going through some things the past year… sexually.”
Oh fuck. Why does this guy keep dragging me into his sex life even though it’s been a long time since we slept together? What am I? Some kind of sex therapist?
“I told Jasmine all about you, and what you did for me, and she had an idea…” Joshua glances at Jasmin, suddenly looking vulnerable. I’d bet everything I have that whatever he’s about to say was her idea. “We were hoping you’d be willing to join us for a threesome.”
“What?!” I exclaim, unable to keep my voice down. Some people look up from their food, and my fellow waiters raise their eyebrows, so I quickly get myself back in check. “You’re kidding… right?”
“No,” Jasmine says, finally speaking up. “I’ve always wondered what it would be like with a girl, and now that Joshua and I are back together and more open to discussing our desires and fantasies, I figured… why not?”
“Fair enough,” I say, careful to keep my voice down. “That’s all good and well, but why me? Just go to a club and find some horny girl to take home with you.”
Jasmine cocks her head to the side and twirls a red lock of hair around her finger. “I want you. From what Joshua told me, you have a lot of experience with sex, and you’re beautiful. Why not you?”
“Because I used to fuck your boyfriend!” I scream-whisper. “It’s fucking weird!”
“You’re the only person I’d feel comfortable doing this with,” Joshua pleads, his eyes bright and pleading. “Just say you’ll think about it. That’s all we’re asking.”
“Joshua, I told you that I met someone else,” I say. Why do they keep trying to persuade me?
“Yeah, but would your new fuckbuddy really mind?” Jasmine asks, her tongue flicking over her lips. “He can watch if he wants. I don’t care.”
I grit my teeth and get up from the booth. “My boyfriend is not going to want to watch me have sex with my old fuckbuddy and his girlfriend. And even if he does, I don’t want this. Find someone else.”
“Like I said, bring your boyfriend,” Jasmine says, shrugging like it’s the most normal offer in the world.
“Shaughna-” Joshua starts.
“Look, Josh, I like you and you’ve been good to me, but you need to stop dragging me into your relationship,” I hiss. “Act out whatever fantasy you want, but do it without me. Please.”
Before they can say anything else, I run back into the kitchen. If I go out for a walk now, they might follow me. At least here I can hide away for a moment.
“New orders?” Kieran asks. “I thought you were on your break?”
“I was,” I say, my mind reeling. “I just need to take it in here if you guys don’t mind.”
Hollister and Kieran exchange a look before nodding. Hollister even makes me one of his famous turkey sandwiches with extra bacon on it. The guy may be a complete and utter asshole, but he does know how to make good food. I sit down on the stool Kieran gets for me and spend the remainder of my break looking at them cook while the waitstaff walks in and out with orders. It’s strangely comforting.
“They asked you to do what?” Dshawn asks, his mouth so wide open that I’m afraid his jaw will just fall right off.
Aston and Francesca are roaring with laughter at the story of how I got asked to participate in a threesome. We’re all over at Aston’s place, drinking beers and eating pizza. Fran still hasn’t told him about her feelings, nor has she broken things off with him, so we’re having a very weird double date, in a way.
“I know right?” I say, shaking my head. “And when I refused and told them that I didn’t think my boyfriend would like me having sex with the two of them, Jasmine told me to just bring him along to watch.”
“Oh my God, that girl!” Fran is wiping tears from her eyes.
“And you’re sure they’re not looking for another guy to join in?” Aston asks suggestively, gesturing at himself. “I’ve had rave reviews.”
I turn to Dshawn to say something else about just how fucked up this all is, but then I notice the look on his face. He is no longer in shock about the story. Instead, his eyes are fixated on my face and he’s smiling so brightly that it’s like the sun just broke through the clouds.
“What?” I ask, feeling a little self-conscious.
He shakes his head in wonder. “You just… you just called me your boyfriend.”
My heartbeat speeds up when I realize he’s right. I didn’t even realize it in the moment, but I did refer to him as such, and I didn’t even think about it twice. For a moment, I’m afraid I’ll start panicking, but when that feeling doesn’t show up, I find happiness instead.
“Are you?” I ask, smiling back at him. “I mean… would you like to be?”
“Yes!” he replies immediately. “God yes!”
Aston laughs loudly. “Way to play it cool, dude.”
We just ignore him and he pulls me in for a kiss, his hands knotting in my hair. I moan into him, not caring that Fran and Aston can both see and hear us. We’ve seen them doing much worse. I just got myself a boyfriend for the first time in seven years.
“I need to call Caroline!” I cry out when we break apart. “Oh my God, I just said the word boyfriend without wanting to throw myself off a cliff!” I jump up and do a little dance, grinning at Dshawn. “I must really like you.”
He rolls his eyes. “Please, woman. Of course you do. I’m a muscular biker sex god.”
“What the fuck did you just call yourself?” Aston asks as I walk out the room and into Aston’s bedroom for a moment.
The moment I close the door behind me, I call Caroline. She picks up on the first ring.
“He’s my boyfriend!” I scream into the phone.
“Jesus fucking Christ, Shaughna!” Caroline complains. “Give a girl a warning before shrieking into her very sensitive ears.”
“Caroline,” I say impatiently. “Did you hear me? Dshawn Davis is my boyfriend.”
She laughs. “Well, yeah, that was pretty obvious to everyone but you, Shaughna. He’s been your boyfriend for a while now. I’d say since New Year’s Eve. Maybe even sooner.”
I think about that for a moment and I realize that in a way, she is right. But today feels like a new start, in a way. “Caroline, I’ve been afraid of that word since Melchior, and now I’m just throwing it around like it’s nothing! This is like, a breakthrough or something! Before you know it, I’ll be telling him I love him or something.”
We’re both silent for a moment, letting those words sink in.
“Did you just say…?” Caroline inhales sharply. “Shaughna, you just used the L-word without crying or yelling or puking. This is a breakthrough!”
Fear rushes into my body at last. It may be childish of Car to call it the L-word, but I’m the one wishing I could just take that word back. I’m not ready. I’m not.
“It’s okay,” Caroline says softly. “I get it. It just slipped out, and now you’re freaking out. I’m pretty sure he already knows how you feel about him, Shaughna. That guy is head over heels for you.”
“He is, isn’t he?” I ask, smiling to myself. I may not be ready for the really big words yet, but at least I've now got one more word in my vocabulary: boyfriend.
“So, how exactly did this breakthrough happen?” Caroline questions, curious.
“Oh, nothing special,” I say, already cracking up. “Joshua and his girlfriend invited me to have threesome with them and when I said that my boyfriend might not like that, they said he could come right along as a spectator. You know, just a normal day at the office.”
“What? Okay, tell me everything!”
I sit down on Aston’s bed and do just that. There’s something about talking to my best friend that makes this whole thing real in a way that nothing else could. She knows what this means to me like no one else does. Dshawn gets it, but Aston and Francesca don’t. Not really.
“Your turn,” I say when I’m done and Caroline has stopped laughing. “What have you been up to?”
“Same old same old, just like you,” she says. I can already tell that she’s got a bombshell to drop as well. “Nathan finally invited me over to his place, so naturally we had sex in the kitchen and then his best friend walked in on us. No big deal.”
“Oh my God,” I breathe. “Just when I think that I’m the winner of the crazy competition…”
“Oh, I’m not done,” she says with a smile in her voice. “That best friend, Sean, walked in on me the next morning, dancing in the kitchen. I was doing our old routine to I’m a slave for you.”
“Oh no, please don’t tell me you were touching yourself like the dirty little slut you are!” I burst out laughing for the umpteenth time during this conversation. “Okay, your turn. Full story, please. I need details and I need them now.”
Twenty minutes later, I walk back into the living room, ready to tell my boyfriend and our friends about Caroline’s crazy life. Just when I open my mouth to start the story, I notice that all three of them are completely silent, staring at Francesca’s phone.
“What’s going on?” I ask with a sinking feeling in my stomach.
“Shaughna…” Franny is the first to look up. “Is this by any chance Joshua’s Jasmine?” She holds out the phone, showing me a picture of the feisty redhead, her green catlike eyes bright as she holds up a beer bottle to the camera.
“Yeah, that’s her,” I confirm. “Why do you look like you just saw a ghost?”
“Well, honey,” Dshawn says carefully, looking up at me with something close to panic in his eyes. “We wanted to see what she looked like, so we looked up Joshua and then we saw that he posted this picture of his girlfriend… and… we realized something.”
“What?” I ask, looking from one face to the other. “Guys, you’re scaring me. What’s going on?”
“We slept with her,” Aston says. He’s the only one who looks like this is at least slightly amusing to him.
“We?” I repeat. “Who’s we?”
“Well…” Francesca pulls a hand through her blonde and purple hair. “All of us, actually.”